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The second angel

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July 2004

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Revelation 14:8

“And there followed another angel, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication’.”

 What is Babylon, and how did she fall?


Here we are told in a special message for our time that “Babylon” is fallen.  What a great wonder it is that every time we read these words many of us think, “ISRAEL is fallen”!!!

What I mean by this is that we inevitably translate this message to mean that a church which was previously Christian has now fallen from grace in some way and become Babylon.  But the angel is not saying that!  His message is that which was already Babylon has now fallen.  And he gives the reason why.

In our faulty interpretation we have used man’s reasoning and not asked God what He means by His pronouncement through the angel.  Because of this we have not been able to give the correct understanding of this warning to the world since we first received it!   Isn’t it about time that we did?

Where did Babylon come from?

Babylon is a rival system, a literal counterfeit of God’s church, set up by Satan and his earthly followers soon after the expulsion from the Garden of Eden.  It never was Christian (Christ-like).  Its main purpose is to worship the creature (man, and his works, and through them, Satan) rather than the Creator. Romans 1:25. 

From the very beginning of history then, there have been two systems vying for the attention of mankind.  Note 1.  “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him?  Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.”  1 John 3:11-12.  Cain brought the results of his own efforts as a gift to God, looking for a reward, while Abel relied on the death of Christ as pictured by a lamb. Genesis 4:3-4.  One system is based on pride and self-righteousness, while the other is humble and loving.

Cain was the originator (under Satan) of the false system on earth and he made it consciously evident by building a city/state in which to enclose his followers, Note 2 and by establishing Sunday as their day of worship.  Note 3.  “And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he built a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.” Genesis 4:16-17.

A the same time, it is written:

“And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: ‘For God,’ said she, ‘has appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.’ And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD [to call themselves by the name of the LORD, margin].”  Genesis 4:25-26.

Thus from the beginning there was God’s system and the devil’s with their vastly different, yet superficially similar, ways of worship and daily life. But Babylon has always been a combination of church and state and has never “fallen” from God’s kingdom. It is only individuals who can apostatize from God’s way, not systems. 

There is only one real transformation taught in the Bible – from Pagan to Christian – not the reverse, for only God can change the spots!  Jeremiah 13:23. The majority of those who leave Christianity are described in the following verses by the apostle John: “Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” 1 John 2:18-19. Thus it is clear that although they congregated with God’s people, they did so as “tares” and never had the change of heart.

However, there are a few, just a few, who come under a different category. It is written, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame. For [nature teaches us that] the earth which drinks in the rain that comes oft upon it, and brings forth herbs [good plants] meet for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God: but that which bears thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh to cursing; whose end is to be burned.”  Hebrews 6:4-8.  So even some of the remnant turn back from God’s kingdom, as Lucifer did.

The problem for most of us is that while individuals can be spiritually in only one or the other system, they can, however, be together bodily, for there are “tares” among the “wheat” in God’s church. Matthew 13:24-30.  (The reverse is also true, for there are “wheat” among the idolaters of Babylon.)

We must add to that fact the understanding that through the history taught in the Bible we know that truly reborn Christians can have many Babylonian ideas and practices!  Samson’s self-serving tactics are a classic example of this, yet he is listed in God’s Roll of Honour in Hebrews 11:32.  So WHO is a Babylonian we should leave to God as the parable indicates, but we should know WHAT is Babylonian.

What is Babylon?

Now we need to look more closely at the message God gave us through the second angel.  At that time there was definite “fall” by “Babylon.”  What was that fall? 

Most professed Protestants believe that the system set up in Rome around 508AD, and today called the Roman Catholic [worldwide] Church, is identyified with the Babylon of the Bible.  Many also have the erroneous view that it was once the Christian Sabbath-keeping church and degenerated (or evolved, depending on your point of view) into the Sunday-keeping system in the first few centuries of the Christian era. 

This is not totally true.

As we should know, Cain’s Babylon was eventually rebuilt after the Flood on the plains of Mesopotamia long before the Roman system came into being. “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, ‘Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, ‘Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach to heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth’.” Genesis 11:1-4. It was in this way that the Chaldean Babylon was set up.

This system had reached mammoth extent under various names in many countries in the time of Daniel and was indeed world-wide even more than Nebuchadnezzar’s empire was, but the Chaldean branch was cut down to size by God’s man, Cyrus the Persian.  “Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held [in guidance], to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut. I will go before you, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron. And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, which call you by your name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob My servant's sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name: I have surnamed you, though you have not known Me.” Isaiah 45:1-4.

Therefore, soon after the conquest of the city by Cyrus (539BC) the leading priests of Chaldean Babylon (including their high priest) departed and eventually re-established their system in another city/kingdom called Pergamos, over a thousand miles to the west of the country of Babylon, in what is now Turkey.  “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things says He which has the sharp sword with two edges; I know your works and where you dwell, even where Satan's seat is: and you hold fast My name, and have not denied My faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells.”  Revelation 2:12-13.

The city/kingdom was gifted to the emperor of Rome when its last king died, and thus the priesthood and the Chaldean Babylonian system were literally transferred to a new seat of power at the heart of the Roman Empire. Note 7.  The Pagan system of Rome was a copy of the Babylonian one, but then they merged and the original became the established religion of Rome around 321AD when the Emperor Constantine gave it his blessing. 

Unfortunately for many professed Christians, Constantine imagined this system to be a Christian system even though it worshipped on Sunday in recognition of its founder, and his error has been perpetuated ever since in many minds.  Tradition still holds strong!

What distinguishes the Roman Catholic Babylon from all the other Babylons?  It has consistently tried to pass itself off as Christian! 

It is, in essence, Paganism masquerading as Christian.  “Baptised Paganism” as this system is sometimes called, has always tried to identify itself as Christian, but will not follow God’s way.

This is what God says about it:

2 Thessalonians 2:1-8

“Now we beseech you, brothers and sisters, by the coming of our LORD Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together to Him, that you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

“Remember you not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now you know what withholds that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity does already work: only He who now lets [restrains] will let [keep under control], until He be taken out of the way [be totally rejected].

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the LORD shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.”

From what has Babylon fallen?

However, the Roman Catholic Church cannot be the subject of the second angel’s warning for that church had already been in the fallen condition for many centuries when he spoke. Note 4.  

It was regarded by many in Europe as the church of God until about 1517, but from that time groups of people called “Protestants” have protested that it is not a Christian church, and never has been. Note 8.  Men like Martin Luther and John Knox showed conclusively to the world that it was a system to come out of; unfortunately, they and the churches they founded did not do that completely!  While giving up some of the most obvious signs of man-worship, the Protestant churches clung to various other doctrines of the Roman church, notably Sunday-worship.  Why did they do that?

God’s view of the Protestant systems?  He said,

Revelation 3:1-2

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things says He that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know your works, that you have a name that you live [are alive in men’s estimation], and are [nearly] dead [in My sight]. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found your works perfect before God.”

They were the “daughters of Babylon” as described in John’s vision. 

Revelation 17:3-5

“So he [the angel guide] carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:


What did the daughters fall from? 

The warning of the second angel was first given in the northern hemisphere summer of 1844, (June-August) and was connected with the message of the second coming of that time. Note 5. The people of God in that year accepted that the message was a call to come out of the Protestant churches and left in considerable numbers all over the world.  They rejected the church/state combination in its various forms, and opted for God and the Bible only, which is why they found the Sabbath truth.  Babylon “fell” in their eyes.

However, what they did not make clear in their minds or their teachings was the fact that they had come out of Babylon, not Christianity. 

Because of the hang-over from Constantine many have continued to this day to consider the Protestant churches as fallen Christian churches!  Probably because of the fact that there are still many real Christians in those denominations, as there are in the Roman Catholic one despite its official teachings.  Some have even dared to call the SYSTEMS, “fellow Christian ones” but God calls them “harlots” and abominations”!  (We must make the distinction between people and the system they worship in.  Most of the leaders of these false systems know what they are doing, but the majority of the people do not.)

So, why did the daughters of Babylon fall? Note 6.

“Because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” the angel says.

He repeats the words “is fallen” twice [in the present tense] and this helps us to understand what he means.  At that time the rejection of the everlasting gospel as an official teaching of the Protestant churches (the removal of the old nature BEFORE the infilling with the new, known as justification by faith) was completed and the doctrine of two natures side by side substituted for it.  Yet it was still called “justification (or righteousness) by faith”.  “Just let Christ into your heart and you’ll be saved” was, and is now, the call.  In this way they turned away from the most obvious teaching of the Bible.

Soon after that, when the seventh-day Sabbath was presented to them as an outward sign of Christianity, they rejected that also. 

The Spirit of God had been working strongly in the “daughters” since 1517 trying to lead them into the full truth through the Bible, but by 1844 they had grown up to the full stature of their mother, and He was rejected and false manifestations such as “speaking in tongues” were accepted in His place. Thus they turned away from the word of God while outwardly glorifying it.  A flood of conflicting versions began to swamp the world, all leading in some small manner away from the truth.

The everlasting gospel was taught by the Holy Spirit in Babylon’s daughters between 1517 and 1844 in such a way that the people could become good Christians and yet remain in them because there was no Sabbath-keeping stronghold available, but that is no longer necessary today.  He now urges Christians to come out from there.  “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.’ For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.” Revelation 18:4-5.

As the second angel tells us, the Protestant churches are now confusing the people of the world with their religious “cloak” and yet worldly “actions.” Because the followers of Babylon attempt to live in both worlds, they are indeed “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” See Matthew 7:15.


If we would stay loyal to the God of the Bible, we must accept His word that those systems are all part of the same family and draw attention to this before we can give the third angel’s message in its fullness.  What is that message?

Revelation 14:

9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.

11 And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name.

12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 

Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.
Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.
Next query. To be discussed from August 1st 2004.

Revelation 14:

9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.

Who did this angel follow, and what does his message mean?


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Note 1.

The Pharisee and the publican represent two great classes into which those who come to worship God are divided. Their first two representatives are found in the first two children that were born into the world.

Cain thought himself righteous, and he came to God with a thank offering only. He made no confession of sin, and acknowledged no need of mercy.

But Abel came with the blood that pointed to the Lamb of God. He came as a sinner, confessing himself lost; his only hope was the unmerited love of God. The Lord had respect to his offering, but to Cain and his offering He had not respect.

The sense of need, the recognition of our poverty and sin, is the very first condition of acceptance with God. "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3.

There are only two parties upon this earth - those who stand under the bloodstained banner of Jesus Christ and those who stand under the black banner of rebellion. In the twelfth chapter of Revelation is represented the great conflict between the obedient and the disobedient. Revelation 12:17; 13:11-17. Back


Note 2.

Upon receiving the curse of God, Cain had withdrawn from his father's household. He had first chosen his occupation as a tiller of the soil, and he now founded a city, calling it after the name of his eldest son. Genesis 4:16-17. He had gone out from the presence of the Lord, cast away the promise of the restored Eden, to seek his possessions and enjoyment in the earth under the curse of sin, thus standing at the head of that great class of men who worship the god of this world.

In that which pertains to mere earthly and material progress, his descendants became distinguished. But they were regardless of God, and in opposition to His purposes for man.

For some time the two classes remained separate. So long as this separation continued, they [the follwers of the LORD, Christians] maintained the worship of God in its purity. But in the lapse of time they ventured, little by little, to mingle with the inhabitants of the valleys [the Babylonians]. This association was productive of the worst results and it eventually brought about the Flood.

After the Flood the dwellers on the plain of Shinar disbelieved God's covenant that He would not again bring a flood upon the earth.

Many of them denied the existence of God, and attributed the flood to the operation of natural causes.

Others believed in a supreme being, and that it was He who had destroyed the antediluvian world; and their hearts, like that of Cain, rose up in rebellion against him.

One object before them in the erection of the tower of Babel [aka Babylon] was to secure their own safety in case of another deluge. By carrying the structure to a much greater height than was reached by the waters of the flood, they thought to place themselves beyond all possibility of danger. And as they would be able to ascend to the region of the clouds, they hoped to ascertain the cause of the flood.

The whole undertaking was designed to exalt still further the pride of its projectors, and to turn the minds of future generations away from God, and lead them into idolatry.  Back


Note 3.

Before the Fall our first parents had kept the Sabbath, which was instituted in Eden; and after their expulsion from Paradise they continued its observance. They had tasted the bitter fruits of disobedience, and had learned what every one that tramples upon God's commandments will sooner or later learn -- that the divine precepts are sacred and immutable, and that the penalty of transgression will surely be inflicted.

The Sabbath was honored by all the children of Adam that remained loyal to God.

But Cain and his descendants did not respect the day upon which God had rested. They chose their own time for labor and for rest [Sunday], regardless of God's express command and so there came into being two different days of worship.  Back


Note 4.

Since this message follows the warning of the judgment of verses 6-7, it must be given in the last days; therefore it cannot refer to the Roman Church alone, for that church has been in a fallen condition for many centuries.

But "the noon of the papacy was the midnight of the world."--J. A. Wylie, The History of Protestantism, b. 1, ch. 4.

The Holy Scriptures were almost unknown, not only to the people, but to the priests of Roman catholic Europe. Like the Pharisees of old, the papal leaders hated the light which would reveal their sins. God's law, the standard of righteousness, having been removed, they exercised power without limit, and practiced vice without restraint. Fraud, avarice, and profligacy prevailed. Men shrank from no crime by which they could gain wealth or position. The palaces of popes and prelates were scenes of the vilest debauchery. Some of the reigning pontiffs were guilty of crimes so revolting that secular rulers endeavored to depose these dignitaries of the church as monsters too vile to be tolerated. For centuries Europe had made no progress in learning, arts, or civilization. A moral and intellectual paralysis had fallen upon a system men called "Christendom." 

The condition of the world under the Roman Catholic power presented a fearful and striking fulfillment of the words of the prophet Hosea: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you: . . . seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children."

"There is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood touches blood." Hosea 4:6, 1-2.

Such were the results of banishing the word of God.  Back


Note 5.

Christian hopes now centred on the coming of the Lord in 1844. This was also the time for the message of the second angel, who, flying through the midst of heaven, cried, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city." Revelation 14:8.

That message was first proclaimed by the servants of God in the summer of 1844. As a result, many left the fallen Protestant churches. In connection with this message the "midnight cry" [See Matthew 25:1-13.] was given: "Behold, the Bridegroom comes; go you out to meet Him." In every part of the land light was given concerning this message, and the cry aroused thousands. It went from city to city, from village to village, and into the remote country regions. It reached the learned and talented, as well as the obscure and humble.  Back


Note 6.

Furthermore, in the eighteenth chapter of the Revelation the people of God are called upon to come out of Babylon [again]. According to this scripture, many of God's people must still be in Babylon. And in what religious bodies are the greater part of the followers of Christ now to be found? Without doubt, in the various churches professing the Protestant faith.

At the time of their rise these churches took a noble stand for God and the truth, and His blessing was with them. [He gives rain to the just and the unjust.] Even the unbelieving world was constrained to acknowledge the beneficent results that followed an acceptance of the principles of the gospel.

In the words of the prophet to Israel: "Your renown went forth among the heathen for your beauty: for it was perfect through My comeliness, which I had put upon you, says the Lord God."

But they fell by the same desire which was the curse and ruin of Israel -- the desire of imitating the practices and courting the friendship of the ungodly. "You did trust in your own beauty, and played the harlot because of your renown." Ezekiel 16:14, 15.  Back

Note 7

 See the book The Two Babylons”  by Alexander Hislop for a very detailed description of how this happened.  Back

Note 8

"Let every Christian henceforth and for ever treat it as an outcast from the pale of Christianity. Instead of speaking of it as a Christian Church, let it be recognised and regarded as the Mystery of Iniquity, yea, as the very Synagogue of Satan. With such overwhelming evidence of its real character, it would be folly – it would be worse – it would be treachery to the cause of Christ – to stand merely on the defensive, to parley with its priests about the lawfulness of Protestant orders, the validity of Protestant sacraments, or the possibility of salvation apart from its communion.”    

The Two Babylons, page 282.    Back